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Biennale: ‘Bodies of Water’, the 13th Shanghai Biennale

Text by CLOT Magazine

Power Station of Art (PSA), the first state-run museum dedicated to contemporary art in mainland China, host Body of waters, the 13th Shanghai Biennale. Proposing a different format, for the first time the Biennale comes to life through an eight-month in crescendo programme of projects and events, during which a succession of three phases unfolds a fluid and organic schedule.

A WET-RUN REHEARSAL, the first phase, was a five-day summit that brought contributors together to present their work both in a performative way and online. The second, AN ECOSYSTEM OF ALLIANCES, sees the establishment of interrelations between the PSA, the Biennale’s core, and the infrastructures everyday life and daily dynamics occur.

AN ECOSYSTEM OF ALLIANCES takes the shape of online and offline encounters, such as the associations with streaming TV channels, social media, and urban interventions. AN ECOSYSTEM OF ALLIANCES runs until April 9, 2021. The final stage culminates in AN EXHIBITION. From its home at PSA, the Biennale will merge into a series of locations along the Huangpu River and across the city.

Body of waters is conceived as a communal act undertaken by artists, thinkers, activists, scientists, citizens and institutions, prompting trans-species alliances and collective engagement. The Biennale aims to explore solidarity moving beyond anthropocentric conceptions and overcoming national-based narratives. Wateriness thus becomes a metaphor for fluidity through which to sense, discuss, and reconstruct togetherness within an aqueous environment that envelops both human and non-human existences. 

The present appears as an ever-changing landscape that requires constant adaptation and asks for potential renewals. Body of waters, relying on the history and geography of Shanghai and the role of water in affecting the area’s morphology, aspires to provide a platform to experience and connect with the alterity and the divergent, a liquid space in which research and knowledge-making flow and unravel interdependent relations. 

Body of Waters is curated by Andrés Jaque, closely collaborating with You Mi, Marina Otero Verzier, Lucia Pietroiusti, and Filipa Ramos. Among the artists participating, we find Itziar Ocariz, Himali Singh Soin, Andrew Nguyen, and Jenna Sutela. It runs until June 27th, 2021.

(Image courtesy of the 13th Shanghai Biennale)
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